So, at least my son -- an Indians' fan -- thoroughly enjoyed our trip to the new Yankee Stadium Saturday.
He woke up this morning chanting '22-4,' '22-4' and he isn't likely to soon let me forget the historic beating Cleveland put on our Bronx Bombers. The fact that it was his first big-league game and he came away with that kind of memory took some of the sting out of it for me. It is, after all, the most runs ever surrendered by the Yankees in any version of Yankee Stadium
As some others have done, let me share my thoughts on my first impressions of the new Palace that the Steinbrenners Built. Since there is both good and bad about the place I guess I will do this in 'Kudos & Wet Willies' style.
Coming off such a horrific beating it's a good day to be in a foul mood. So, I will actually start with the 'Wet Willies.'
Wet Willies to ...
- The Premium Seating. The premium seats rimming the field cost about a gazillion bucks, and hardly anyone is using them. At least one entire section was empty when the game started. Even with 45,167 people in the place all the empty seats close to the field look awful -- both in the Stadium and on TV. This was a bad idea.
- The Bleacher Seats. We know this already, but I took a good look at those bleacher seats next to the Mohegan Sun Sports Bar. Even at $5 I would never buy one. I have to drive three hours to get to a game, spend $19 to park and incredible amounts on food and drink. I would simply rather stay home than watch the game on TV from inside the Stadium.
- The Home-Field Advantage. I am not sure what else to call this, and it is the thing that bugs me most about the place. The aura of The House That Ruth Built, which sits sadly closed and partially torn apart across the street, is gone. A 22-4 game is not a good one to judge by, but the raucous, loud Stadium filled with people hanging on every pitch seems to be gone. The Stadium itself is an experience. With so much to do -- restaurants, a food court, a Yankee Museum, the Great Hall, stores to browse and concourses with food and merchandise to meander around on every level there are always thousands of people doing something other than watching the game. Even with 45,000 in the 52,000 seat Stadium, it never looked close to a big crowd -- and that is not typical of a Yankee game.
- The Prices. Let's just start with $19 to park my car. I'm not going to recite the litany of everything I spent, I will just tell you this. Make sure you stop by the ATM and bring plenty -- and I do mean plenty -- of cash to the game. If you want to do more than just sit or walk around, you'll need it.
- The Ramps. This one comes from my son, and it is a great point. There is a huge scoreboard, there are flat-screen TVs all over the place and radio broadcasts of the game in the concourse areas. Yet, walk the tunnel behind the bleachers or the ramp to get from one level to the next and you have no idea you are at a baseball game. There are no flat-screens to show you the game as you go from level to level. Not even any radio of John Sterling piped in to keep you abreast of the action. You can miss a whole half-inning just walking the ramps. And the people waiting in line for the Sports Bar or the museum can miss half the game.
- Monument Park. All of those who have previously written that Monument Park in the new Stadium is a joke, are correct. It is hidden away behind the center field fence and you can't see it from most Stadium vantage points. It's a joke that the history of the greatest franchise is sports is tucked away where it can't be seen.
Kudos to ...
Yes, there are plenty of things I like about the new Stadium. Here are some of them.
- It's a Beautiful Place. It replicates the dimensions of the building across the street. The Frieze, the scoreboard in left field, the Great Hall are outstanding. Even the walkways are nicer than the old Stadium simply because they are incredibly wide and not cramped like they were across the street. By now, you know the features -- and it is a gorgeous building.
- Cushioned Seats, Wider Aisles. Even if my view slightly obscured by the right-field foul pole, I was comfortable. The seats are wider, they are cushioned and there is a few extra inches of room in the aisles. Nice!
- The Concourses. There are food and beverage stands everywhere -- more than you can count. I love the fact that you don't have to go inside the Stadium to get to them. The concourses are open-air. From my seat I could walk up the aisle and be just a few steps away from whatever I needed or wanted and still be outside where I could get a glimpse of the field. Good stuff!
- The Bathrooms. If you ever visited the old Stadium you know the bathrooms were disgusting. Anything would have been an improvement.
- Stadium Staff. Let me give some credit to the Yankees for realizing that people would have questions. There is staff everywhere, many holding up 'How may I help you' placards, answering questions and directing people. I don't know how long that will stay in place, but it's a nice touch.
Overall: The place is going to take some getting used to. It is beautiful and I'm sure it will serve the Yankees well for a long time. My complaints are nothing that a handful of World Series titles won't take care of.